Holger is my Natural Mindfulness Bell. He is also my neighbor. A short, blond, blue eyed and very loud person. Every morning somewhere between 7.00 and 9.00 he slams the door to his flat open and enters the world. Instead of seeing him as a disturbance I stop whatever I am doing and focus my awareness on him. Sometimes I even tip toe to my front door and peep out as he descends the stairs. Holger calls me back into the present moment.
Connect with the wonder of being alive
Like a king awaited by his servants Holger salutes all things great and small. Hello boots, all dirty and fine! Are you ready to trample some stairs? And you stairs, are you ready for some mighty jumps? Banister, how do you like the sound of my stick sliding down your back? And you window, I greet you on my knees, with my warm tongue and a river of saliva down your cold skin. And ah! There you are! Cloud in the blue sky, do you see me as I see you?
Formally speaking Holger does not say any of this. It’s all gibberish, but he has got the intonation right. Holger is barely 2 years old and speaks his mind loud and clear. Also when he returns from kindergarten in the late afternoon, tired and worn out after a long day. As he climbs the stairs, he will burst out in tears, go through sudden fits of anger or despair, and then suddenly I hear him babble happily again before he disappears into his apartment. And I return to my own life.
Holger wakes me up twice a day. He is life in its raw unedited form. He is whatever he is in the present moment and he expresses it promptly without any regret or hind thoughts. He connects me with the wonder of being alive.
Connect with creative resources
Dreams are another kind of mindfulness bells that come naturally, free of charge. For periods I wake up every morning with a dream. I tell it to Stephan, I write it in my dream book, I make drawings, I look into the symbols. Over the years I have cultivated intimacy with my dreams and learned their language, so I get the message right. They connect me with resources.
Your dreams are what you are not: Mindful of important stuff you neglect in your busy life. They show where you felt challenged yesterday, but more so: they show how it connects with other challenges in a pattern and how you can deal with it all in more creative and liberating ways.
Connect with your innate happiness
Natural Mindfulness Bells come in a variety of forms. And used properly they become Magic Moments – where you suddenly shift from a closed to an open mind. Maybe you have a church bell near you. A cat or a dog. A sudden rain could be your mindfulness bell, the red traffic light. Or someone arriving late for a meeting. The world around you is full of incidents that you can choose to see as disturbing interruptions or welcome as Mindfulness Bells. When you hear, see or feel your Mindfulness Bell you pause, relax and open.
You can also create Mindfulness Bells. Setting your cell phone, your screen saver to interrupt you with certain intervals. This becomes the invitation to pause, relax and open.
What is the point of using Mindfulness Bells? You cultivate the ability to return to the body in the present moment. This is step number one in any mindfulness or spiritual practice. And here, right here, you will often find that all is well or at least not quite the disaster you had fantasized. If you choose to focus your awareness on someone like Holger, you are likely to return to connect with your innate happiness.